adjective dis·in·gen·u·ous \ ˌdis-in-ˈjen-yə-wəs , -yü-əs \
Updated on: 11 Dec 2017

Definition of disingenuous

: lacking in candor; also : giving a false appearance of simple frankness : calculating





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Examples of disingenuous in a Sentence

  1. "It's had nine murders since 1937—about the same as you would get in many small towns." This was correct, but a wee disingenuous. The AT [Appalachian Trail] had no murders in its first thirty-six years and nine in the past twenty-two. —Bill BrysonA Walk in the Woods1999
  2. … and he egged Badger on, asking a disingenuous question about the antivivisection rally in Cleveland, and as Badger took the thought up and chewed it over, the Doctor made as if to excuse himself. —T. Coraghessan BoyleThe Road to Wellville1993
  3. … he has a disingenuous way of resorting to slang when he wants to make a big point but is afraid of sounding pretentious. —Karen SchoemerNew York Times Book Review31 Oct. 1993
  4. Unity is at best an ideal, at worst a disingenuous political slogan. —Salman RushdieThe Independent on Sunday25 Nov. 1990
  5. Her recent expressions of concern are self-serving and disingenuous.

Recent Examples of disingenuous from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disingenuous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

disingenuous Has a Roman History

Ingenous has its roots in the slave-holding society of ancient Rome. Its ancestor ingenuus is a Latin adjective meaning "native" or "freeborn" (itself from gignere, meaning "to beget"). Ingenuus begot the English adjective ingenuous. That adjective originally meant "freeborn" (as in "ingenuous Roman subjects") or "noble and honorable," but it eventually came to mean "showing childlike innocence" or "lacking guile." In the mid-17th century, English speakers combined the negative prefix dis- with ingenuous to create disingenuous, meaning "guileful" or "deceitful."

First Known Use of disingenuous


DISINGENUOUS Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of disingenuous for English Language Learners

  • : not truly honest or sincere : giving the false appearance of being honest or sincere

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a man who seduces many women

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